Many families seeking cash assistance through the Michigan Family Independence Program (FIP) face significant barriers in securing and retaining employment. From child care to transportation and literacy, career coaches cite a long list of barriers that can keep families from achieving self-sufficiency.
Having positive mentors can help direct job seekers to reach their educational, career, economic and relationship goals. Our program focuses on a partnership between SERCO and PATH participants in building assets and developing protective factors, including their future aspirations for themselves, relationships and employers. The program covers such topics as developing and maintaining job search skills, practicing effective communication skills, career exploration, and obtaining life skills while working toward self-sufficiency and employment.
As of January 1, 2013, applicants for cash assistance are engaged in a more robust, results-oriented work participation program – PATH (Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope.). The new program features a 21-day assessment period (AEP) during which barriers to employment are identified and career coaches work individually with clients to connect them with resources to address these barriers. This intensive orientation period is a departure from the previous program, JET (Jobs, Education and Training), in which orientation periods varied across the state from one to three days. The orientation and job placement program under PATH will continue to be administered by the Workforce Development Agency and Michigan Works! Agencies, including SERCO. Successful AEP graduates transition to PATH.
Participants for PATH are referred from the Department of Human Services office. PATH participants receive an intensive assessment, an Individual Service Strategy plan, counseling/coaching, professional development / job readiness training, basic skills enhancement and individualized job search services.
The PATH Program is funded by Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation in compliance with federal TANF regulations. SERCO’s unique menu of services provides our participants with the skills and the competitive advantage needed to find employment in this current economic climate and tough job market. Our services include job readiness, career planning, occupational skills development, and supportive services. The SERCO PATH Program addresses the participant’s needs through the delivery of wrap around services that leverage resources available through the program and community. This approach results in successful outcomes for the participant and the program.
After being referred to the SERCO PATH Program by the Department of Human Services, participants attend a PATH/AEP Orientation where they receive an overview of the program’s requirements and rules and regulations and are provided with information about the resources available through the SERCO PATH Program. Depending on their designation as either AEP or PATH, participants will participate in customized activities, including job readiness workshops that provide them with the communication, interpersonal skills, resume writing and interviewing skills needed to conduct a successful job search.
Participants meet with their individually assigned AEP or PATH Career Coach who conducts a comprehensive assessment that determines each participant’s individual employment needs. AEP participants work with their assigned career coach to determine barriers and the best methods to overcome them. PATH participants work with their career coach to develop their participation calendar which incorporates their Individual Services Strategy. The services strategy outlines the steps and goals each participant needs to take to address and overcome barriers to employment and may include assistance with child care, assistance with housing, assistance with supportive services including transportation, or assistance with acquiring clothing needed to conduct a professional job search.
Participants can access training opportunities to increase their employability including GED preparation and training for in-demand occupations. Participants receive the counseling and support that helps them to manage personal situations that may affect their ability to participate. When ready, participants will meet with a Job Developer who will assist them to find employment.
PATH participants not only have the opportunity to access services available through the community but also have the distinct advantage of being able to receive services that are available through SER Metro-Detroit’s Center for Working Families (CWF). PATH participants receive assistance accessing additional public benefits, including assistance with tax preparation and foreclosure assistance. Participants attend financial literacy workshops and may, depending on need, receive one-on-one counseling, assistance with budget preparation, credit building, and credit repair. The assistance PATH participants receive from the Center for Working Families is key to helping them overcome barriers. The services provide them with the extra resources that give them the stability and peace of mind that is needed to focus on securing employment.
For more information please contact: Laura Fante at LFante@mi.sercohq.com